Having missed the actual Common Ground Festival (formerly called The Dirty Weekend) in September through other commitments this was an opportunity for me to help chip in to the recovery of the losses that the festival made. The promoters here, and a lot of the attendees, know it’s exactly the kind of underground gathering they want to see continuing in the future. So today almost seems a mini flavour of the main event, some of them having played the do down in Bristol, with a great selection of bands and the grin inducing messy mayhem of the alternative community get-together.
We battled through the bleak mid-winter via train enabling some pre drinks and found the venue easy enough, the last time I’d been here was to the Kraak Gallery bit of the complex but the Peer Hat itself looks pretty newly refurbished and a good comfy and cosy upstairs bar and basement venue. Salvo had just opened up as we descended, I think the first time for me catching them. I’d seen front man Myke with Vitriolic Response a lot but this band seems a lot more hardcore orientated, nice chugging mid pace picking up to some faster charging stuff, and pretty relentless vocals as he paces back and forth.
Skipped the melodic punk of Aerial Salad having just seen them with Wonk Unit in Chester before getting our teeth into Chewed Up (pic above) from Sheffield. New vocalist Frankie’s first ever gig went well, and her harsh vocal was ably mixed up with the other guys backing, although it made for an unusual contrast to their occasional skanking section, much more suited to their diverse dark hardcore vibes. Overall the style and impact was excellent and fresh though, would gladly check them again.
Only caught a bit of Pudge, also suspiciously flaunting their Yorkshire-ness; there’s an invasion going on! Pretty melodic punk delivered with good humour and an out of control drummer. A major draw today to see Burning Flag (main pic) again, one of my favourite UK bands at the moment. The usual mix of the groove-cored heavy punk, and just great song writing, all the band adding up to more than the sum of the parts. Ang is as angry and cathartic as ever, also backed up for the lyric hooks, but they also seem to be having fun every time they play. Us too, great stuff.
Natterers were also over from West Yorkshire, and these also impressed, catching them for the first time. More male backed fast hardcore, with moments taken in between songs to emphasise the importance of the messages. In picking up a copy of their 7” was also pleased to hear that it was true they are named after the bat species so had a little environmental moment.
Head out to eat some tea and back to catch the end of Krupskaya from Stoke who I hadn’t seen for a while, and were definitely the most extreme band on the bill. The blisteringly fast end of grind, a harsh onslaught with little occasional pauses for breath, but possibly a lack of a degree of definition in the sound mix left it a bit of a relentless wall. Or maybe that was the intention! Brief experience of the be-suited Nosebleed was entertaining enough, proper rocking punk with great catchy rhythms and strong singing. Then another consultation with the doctors, our friends The Crippens (pic above). Since the UK hardcore legends reformed in earlier in the year they really are getting some respect for renewing their tight and bouncy sound. A visual feast of a show plus the singalong genius of their classic tracks, I love it and can’t seeing myself getting tired of it any time soon.
Definitely leaving on a high after that prescription dose we have to catch a train and unfortunately miss Roughneck Riot, but I’m sure they provided an excellent punk rock party conclusion to the evening, which did raise hundreds towards the cause. Always good to share common ground with these bands and people wherever it may be.